Put down the tweezers boys, it’s time to become men

by Matt Doran

Ladies, I feel for you. I see you strutting around campus in your cutoffs, playing the SoCal pinup girl, desperately hoping a strong, burly man will sweep you off your feet, take you to La Jolla Cove and make out with you in the sand a la “From Here to Eternity.” But you and I both know that isn’t going to happen.

Why not? Because the guys on this campus are as manly as Glenn Beck is sane and as romantic as recycling. There simply aren’t real men anymore. It seems there are two types of men today: those who try to convince others how large their penises are and those who have forgotten they have them. One is either beating his chest like a gorilla or preening himself like a parrot.

Nowhere is this dichotomy played out more clearly than the Aztec Recreation Center. There is the guy grunting as he does his power cleans. There is the guy on the elliptical. There is the guy snorting lines of protein powder between sets. There is the guy who readjusts his neon wifebeater after a few push-ups. And all of them make a grand show of fist bumping each other at every possible moment. You ladies are there in your excessively tight and short spandex busting your butt on that StairMaster, and do they notice? Probably not — they’re too busy congratulating themselves on their infinite douchiness.

In the segregation of the locker room, it’s no different. I was dressing after a shower in the ARC locker room the other day, and all three mirrors were occupied by some twit with far too much hair gel checking himself out. One couldn’t decide if his gold chain looked better over or under his black guinea-T. Another kept posing at different angles to make sure his shirt hugged his biceps the right way. The third was making sure his collar was popped just so.

I looked around for signs of masculinity. Surely there must be a real man here, someone marveling at this spectacle like I was, who could share in my astonishment. I was met with no such looks, nor did I notice any signs of good ol’ fashioned masculinity (because I was checking out guys — duh).

Sitting on a bench, a young male sprayed cologne on his wrists and rubbed them together, and yes, it smelled like a diaper filled with Indian food. Another was applying lotion, Tahitian vanilla bean scented of course, all over his hairless chest. A third was bedazzling his trucker hat. OK, perhaps that last one didn’t really happen … But it could have.

When did being an ordinary man become insufficient or passé? When did men feel the need to prove themselves men? When were men tasked with gussying themselves up and accessorizing before taking on the day? Must we primp in order to pimp? We’re not supposed to smell like a Tuscan garden and look like Javier Bardem. We’re men, dammit. We don’t need steroids or diamond stud earrings to assert ourselves. Our big swinging boomsticks do that for us. Just as feminism celebrated all things woman, so too should we be celebrating all things man.

In fact, we shouldn’t even be celebrating. Our masculinity should emanate from us, alerting females that yes, we are here, we are men and we are brawny, hairy, awesome beings. We don’t have to beat our chests to make our presence known. We don’t need exfoliating creams. We’re men. We lord over this earth with our prominent sex organs and ginormous man-brains. We shouldn’t derive our sense of manhood from how much we can bench press or Burt’s Bees peppermint foot cream. It must come from the depths of our prodigious loins.

Guys, what are you wearing right now? Do you have an Ed Hardy or tawdry muscle shirt on? Is your hair flammable? Peek down the neck of your shirt. Is the landscape barren or fertile? How much jewelry are you wearing? Do your lips taste like strawberry? Are you donning skinny jeans? How long did it take you to get ready this morning? If you answered more than 30 seconds, I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

The current caste of beefcake or dainty, superficial impotents is unfit to bear the name “men” and must be exiled to northern Europe where it’s acceptable for men to be pretty. Channel Bogart and Clift and Brando and Newman, all macho men in the classic sense of the word. Put down the dumbbells and tanning spray and put on regular, plain jeans and a T-shirt. Put down the imported light beer and pick up a bourbon. It’s time to be men again. Let’s be content with who we are. Let’s strut around and bring some Don Draper to campus. Let’s show the ladies what real men are made of.

—Matt Doran is a creative writing graduate student, RWS teacher and professional lumberjack. Email him at doranmatthew@hotmail.com to solicit his advice on how to write, argue and chop wood like a man .

—This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.

—Listen to or download an audio recording of this column at thedailyaztec.com.